Sleeve Gastrectomy


How Does it Work?

The Sleeve Gastrectomy consists of the complete removal of approximately 80-90% of the stomach. This gives the patient a much smaller stomach capacity which fills up on a small amount of food. The term “Sleeve” refers to the shape of the remaining stomach after most of it is removed, because it looks like a tube or a sleeve, rather than an external sleeve having been placed around the stomach, which is a common misconception.

The sleeve gastrectomy certainly gives patients appetite suppression, which is an important part of how it works and it's one of the major reasons why patients feel less interested in food after the surgery. It results in decrease in the hunger hormone, ghrelin. The sleeve has also helped patients decrease diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, joint pain and cholesterol levels. The average weight loss after the sleeve gastrectomy is slightly less than for the gastric bypass, (but better than the band, according to the research) but remember - the biggest determinant of your success with ANY surgery is your compliance with the program - lifetime followup with your surgeon and a lifetime commitment to eating healthy and exercising.

One advantage of the sleeve gastrectomy is that it doesn't involve operating on the small intestine, which is helpful for patients who have scar tissue surrounding their small intestine, perhaps from prior operations, hernia or from radiation damage after cancer treatment.

The sleeve gastrectomy and the gastric bypass are the two most popular operations in the country, so many patients ask about the differences between the two. It's important to understand how different operations work, so each patient can make the decision that is best for them. With so many options these days - gastric bypass, V Bloc, sleeve, band, Orbera balloon, it can be overwhelming. The most important thing is to keep an open mind and ask questions during your consultations with Dr. Ellner. You may have medical or behavioral reasons to consider one type of surgery more strongly than the others. Here are some facts about the sleeve gastrectomy that address some of the common questions that arise during initial consultation with Dr. Ellner.

All surgeries have risk. It is important to remember that when considering bariatric surgery, the risk of having serious health problems and even death due to obesity is much higher than the risk of surgery. Many thousands of patients have undergone the sleeve gastrectomy and are advocates. Indeed, most bariatric patients will tell you that having weight loss surgery was the best decision they ever made, no matter what operation they had!

Please bring your questions to your consultation with Dr. Ellner so you can be fully informed of the risks and benefits of all of your options!